This qualitative study provides a snapshot into what corporations say and what they do with regard to stakeholder engagement in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and considers the difference in the promises made and the actions taken by corporations in the minds of stakeholders. As the research of CSR questions what a corporation is responsible for and Stakeholder Theory (ST) questions whom the corporation is responsible to, CSR and ST provide conceptual frameworks for the study. A genuine commitment to CSR and stakeholder engagement contributes to sustainability, impacting the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) of an organization. According to the National Research Council, there is an urgent need for corporations within the U.S. Healthcare sector to make such a commitment. As large corporations are established organizations with greater resources to engage stakeholders in support of CSR, many believe they should take the lead. Consequently, this study identified six large-capitalization (large-cap) corporations within the U.S. Healthcare sector, representing six different industries within the sector that complied with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, the study’s sampling criteria. Content analysis of Annual Reports to Shareholders, CSR Reports, and RepRisk Reports of the corporations selected for study allowed the researcher to formulate several conclusions. A corporation’s commitment to ESG issues evolves over time, while their level of engagement with stakeholders fluctuates. Further, the communication style of a corporation can influence perceived commitment to ESG issues and stakeholder engagement. Finally, corporations committed to ESG issues and stakeholder engagement are not immune to incidents of ESG risk, which in turn, negatively impacts a corporation’s reputation and impairs sustainability. A critical management approach to improve our nation’s healthcare system is the adoption of a stakeholder orientation in support of CSR efforts. This study reveals a path that corporations within the sector can take to adopt such approaches. The importance of this study lies in the observations shared to further understand if corporations walk the talk with regard to stakeholder engagement in support of CSR and the recommendations offered that hopefully inspire more healthcare corporations to contribute to the transformation required.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Social responsibility of business; Medical care -- United States; Corporate governance -- Moral and ethical aspects

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Davis, Kay D.;